If your natural radiance has dimmed you need to head not straight to your bathroom shelf but your fridge. What are you eating? If you’ve been filling up with sugary snacks, processed food, soda, and one too many glasses of wine it will show up on your skin through a process called glycation.
What is glycation?
Sugar, whether it comes via chocolate bars, alcohol, cookies or refined carbs causes something called glycation, which triggers a chain of ugly reactions in the body. Glucose and fructose molecules bind to other molecules, breaking down the collagen and elastin that keep skin smooth, plump and firm.
How glycation causes wrinkles
The result? Premature aging, sagging, lines and wrinkles. On top of that, sugar spikes insulin and creates a surge in hormones linked to excess oil production, which can mean breakouts. As the pièce de résistance sugar dehydrates the skin, and creates aging free radicals and inflammation.
Not pretty picture, is it?
Foods that help sugar-proof your skin
You can eat your way back to a natural glow. Think a balanced diet packed with a rainbow of vitamin, mineral and antioxidant-packed vegetables, some fruits (but not too many), healthy fats and high quality protein. And give it time. The skin takes up to 12 weeks to regenerate and new cells to come to the surface. In the meantime, you’ll notice more energy, less bloating and a decrease in cravings.
These are five of our favorite nutrition-packed glow boosters.
Low GI oatmeal is not only good for regulating blood sugar it keeps you feeling full for longer. Why is it great for skin? It’s packed with antioxidants, magnesium, vitamin B, zinc and iron, which are crucial for collagen production and a healthy-looking complexion.
Fruit is naturally high in fructose, and counterintuitive as it sounds, too much isn’t great for skin. But berries are mini skin-loving superstars loaded with nutrients but low on the glycemic index. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, and goji are packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, and antioxidant polyphenols. These mighty bits of goodness promote healthy collagen, mop up aging free radicals, reboot skin’s natural defenses and visibly repair environmental damage.
These nutritional powerhouses are packed with healthy fats and omega 3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA which help repair cells and reduce the inflammation that contributes to blemishes. Studies have also shown that omega fatty acids may reduce skin’s sensitivity to UV and sun damage. They’re also a prime source of antioxidant vitamin E, which helps protect skin against free radicals that contribute to sagging and wrinkles. Take your pick from sardines, mackerel and salmon. If you don’t eat fish other excellent sources are chia, flax and pumpkin seeds, walnuts.
Packed with plant protein and antioxidant lutein, which helps mop up free radicals and help prevent skin aging, broccoli is also loaded with vitamins A, C, and E – essential building blocks for collagen production and supple, smooth, elastic skin.
Loaded with fatty acids, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B, C, and E, low GI pumpkin helps boost collagen production to keep skin smooth and plump. Powerful antioxidants not only protect against future free radical damage but help visibly repair and restore healthy skin.